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How to Understand Your Eating Habits

Updated: Feb 19, 2022

One of the first things to do when looking to improve your diet, is to look at your current eating habits and begin understanding them so that you can make your changes work for you, rather than against you.

We eat for many reasons - to suppress hunger, to give us energy, to deal with emotions, to feel good, and more - and that's okay!

Choosing foods for enjoyment is just as important as eating for health. But over time we can develop unhelpful eating patterns that become ingrained into our lifestyle and negatively affect our relationship with food and our physical health.

Beginning a food diary is the first step in understanding these patterns so that we can start overwriting them with healthier ones - slowly but surely, the right way.

The first step in any journey is to fully understand the present situation. This will allow you to identify any triggers or signals of returning to this state, and create an action plan to redirect - This is how we achieve long term success in habit change.

Keeping a food diary may seem inconvenient, but it's easier than you think. Having a food diary completed before taking on nutrition coaching or beginning a meal plan will have huge benefits on the sustainability of your results, as it allows your upcoming journey to be completely personalised to you - working for you and not against you.

How to keep a food diary

Food and mood are intrinsically linked. Your mood can dictate the foods you chose, and the foods you choose will directly affect your mood.

Even more so, the foods you consume have a hugely important role in how your entire body and brain work, from hormone production and release, energy levels, concentration, the running of every internal system and much much more.

Here's what you should track to identify your food and mood link:

  1. The time that you feel the urge to eat, and the feelings you have (hunger, stress, anxiety, low energy, having some free time/boredom, craving, habit)

  2. What you chose to eat, how much you ate, and how long it took to eat it.

  3. How you feel immediately after finishing eating (hungry, stressed, anxious, energised etc...)

  4. How you feel 90-120 minutes after eating that food (using similar dissipators as above)


  • You can track your food and mood on paper, or digitally. At first you may forget so it could be helpful to set alarms, leave your notepad by the fridge, or ask another person to remind you.

  • You can use your own code to track moods, such as symbols or smiley faces, or even create your own chart to tick a box.

  • Stick to your honest eating habits through this period. Trying to eat "better" is not going to give the true representation that is needed to make this information useful.


Want the hard work done for you? Head to my websites downloads page to get yourself a FREE printable food diary that you easily fill in at home!

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